Good morning from NYC! What a week in medical news! We’ve seen the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States and mystery cases of paralysis in children in Colorado and now Boston. Not only have rare viruses made headlines this week. Flu season is upon us and we can expect the usual illness-causing suspects to make an appearance on the scene along with these other pathogens soon. So, yesterday I had the opportunity to talk all things flu shots with Wall Street Journal Live reporter Sara Murray.
The influenza virus is constantly changing so flu shots must as well. As we get better and better at creating new vaccines, recommendations are continually updated. So, as nurse practitioners, with flu season upon us, now is the time to get up to speed with the latest when it comes to the influenza vaccine. Here are the highlights of my Q&A with the Wall Street Journal about this year’s flu shot.
What kinds of flu vaccines are available on the market this year?
Like last year, for the 2014-2015 flu season there are two main classifications of influenza vaccine, quadrivalent and trivalent. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four strains of the flu, two types of influenza A and two types of influenza B. The trivalent vaccine protects against just three strains of influenza virus. So, the quadrivalent vaccine offers broader coverage.
Shouldn’t everyone get the more protective quadrivalent vaccine?
Since quadrivalent vaccines are newer, we don’t yet have a large enough supply to give this more protective vaccine to everyone. Out of the 151-159 million doses of influenza vaccine available, about 77 million will be quadrivalent. This is an improvement over last year when just 25% of available influenza vaccine was quadrivalent. Get vaccinated early if you want this more protective formulation!
Kids rejoice! Why is the CDC saying children should get nasal mist over injectable influenza vaccine?
For the first time, the CDC is recommending that children ages 2 to 8 years old receive the quadrivalent nasal spray vaccine. Nasal spray has been shown to prevent about 50% more cases of influenza in young children.
Flu season runs from October to May so now is the time for us NP’s to get vaccinated! I will be getting my flu shot on Thursday…
If you missed my live feature on the Wall Street Journal Live, check it out here!